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The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18 (NLT)

Tragedy brings people together. Earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and the devastation of conflict or famine awaken a part of us that says, “I’ll help you”. Those motivate to help aren’t limited to social class, race or ethnic groups or religious orientation. In fact, sometimes those who are the most financially insecure are the ones who will give more (percentage-wise) than the wealthy.

All of that is good, but sometimes the biggest hurts people experience are the ones where they suffer alone. A broken heart doesn’t show itself in public. We’ve learned how to hide that behind a false smile, and various activities like drugs, new relationships, political and social action or even religion. Some people spend their entire lives doing ‘things’ to try to cure the pain of a broken heart.

Perhaps one of the hardest things to deal with in relation to a broken heart is that we often suffer alone. Oh, we have friends and neighbors who bring food and comfort during times of mourning and illness. There’s often community and government help to rebuild houses and businesses destroyed by natural disaster. But while that may help soothe the pain, it doesn’t cure the pain.

All the food and all the human comfort and all the financial support in the world won’t heal a broken heart. That’s where Jesus comes in. Well meaning friends and compassionate governments can restore physical property, but only Jesus can come alongside you and completely understand your pain. He may not remove the obstacles in your life, but he can give strength to endure in the battle.

It was Jesus who stood beside the mom who’d lost her daughter. It was Jesus who wept over the death of a dear friend. It was Jesus who stood by the desperate father of a demon-possessed, seizure stricken little boy. It was Jesus who brought hope to the woman at the well, a victim of broken relationships, who’d not only had five husbands, but after five divorces she could no longer take the chance of failing again.  It was Jesus who provided the food for over 5,000 hungry men, women and children. He calmed storms, gave hope to the crippled and restored those victimized by religious intolerance.

What is your struggle today? What pain are you hiding because no one else understands? Jesus Christ promises to come along side you. He understands your pain like no one else. He alone can bring peace in the midst of your storm.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. Although I’m smiling on the outside for the world to see, my soul aches today. No one understands how I feel. I’m afraid to share my true feelings with those around me for fear of being misunderstood. Thank you for understanding me. Comfort me in my distress. In your name I pray, Amen.


Suppose someone sees a brother or sister in need and is able to help them. If he doesn’t take pity on them, how can the love of God be in him? 1 John 3:17 (NIRV)

We live in difficult times. The rate of divorce is skyrocketing to the point where nearly ¾ of our children live in single-parent or blended families. The ‘American Dream’ of owning a home, which used to be ‘normal’, is fast becoming a luxury. In some major cities entire housing developments sit empty because the families that once played in their streets have been displaced.

Those discouraging facts are just a few of the travesties in our own nation. They don’t begin to talk about the starvation, political unrest, human rights violations and religious persecution seen in nations around the world.

It’s not hard to find someone in need. The hard part is finding a way to help. Most of us have enough struggles of our own to contend with. We feel inadequate or unable to really offer any meaningful help that will make a difference in the world. We can become so focused on the things we can’t do that we forget about the things we can do. We see the world problems and forget about our neighbor or the kid at school that gets picked on all the time. Or the teenager who finds herself pregnant…again.

Max Lucado, in his book “He Still Moves Stones”, tells the story of Leo Tolstoy, a great Russian writer. It seems Tolstoy was walking down the street one day and saw a beggar. Tolstoy was moved to give the man something but upon looking through his pockets found he had nothing to give the man. He reached out and put his hand on the man’s shoulder and said “Brother, I’m so sorry but I have nothing to give you.”

The beggar looked Tolstoy in the eyes. A smile crossed his face and he said, “You have given me more than I asked for, for you have called me brother.”

It doesn’t take a lot to change someone’s life, even if it’s just for a day. It may be a smile, a kind word, an encouragement. It may be choosing not to make a judgment based on the obvious. You can make a difference in your world. It doesn’t take riches or gifts or abilities. It takes love, caring and compassion. It takes realizing that you too have faults and weaknesses and, in God’s eyes, are no different than the person in the physical, spiritual or emotional gutter.

Show the love of Jesus in your world today. Show it to the person you come across who least expects it…and least deserves it. Showing the love of Jesus to others may only be a smile or a word to you, but to them it just may make their day the best day they’ve had in a long time.

PRAYER: Father God, when I look around me at all the bad stuff going on in the world I’m made aware that even in the midst of my own crisis’ I am truly blessed. I struggle with sin. I am in debt so far I may never see the light of day. I’m living under the consequences of my own failure. Still, I have something to give because I have your love within me. Show me someone today who needs your touch. Empower me with your Spirit to touch them with your love. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

 


Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica he was writing to a people who had all but given up hope. It seemed to them that the anti-Christian forces were overtaking them and soon they would be defeated. The truth of the gospel had become a mockery to everyone, so it seemed.

Paul’s words here are actually a prayer. He prays that those who are feeling hopeless in the midst of trial and despair would be comforted and strengthened by God’s grace. There is it again. That word GRACE. Grace is the building block on which everything we say and do is built. Grace says that even though we are powerless to do anything to deserve hope, we are granted hope because of Jesus.

Grace says that even though our efforts to live for Christ are thwarted by evil in the social and political realm, we have hope and comfort because of God’s love for us. Grace isn’t dependent on government or legal systems or financial stability. Hope is grounded in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. No human system or spiritual darkness will change that.

Grace says that even though it seems like everything is stacked against me, the good that I do will not go unnoticed. My efforts for Christ may be ignored or misunderstood by others. My commitment to live by God’s standards and not worldly standards may be labeled old fashioned or intolerant by forces of darkness, but my Father in Heaven sees my heart and my actions and gives me comfort.

Don’t let the forces of evil discourage you. Don’t allow Satan, the great deceiver, to trick you into thinking that things are out of control. Things are out of our control, but they have never been in our control. Everything that is going on around us is under the control of a Loving, Sovereign, Grace-full God. Put your hope and comfort in Him. Let the truth of God’s word empower you as you continue to do and say good things in his name.

The world system wants you to believe there is hope in politics, money or religion. The only hope we have is through grace given us in Jesus Christ.

PRAYER: Father God, I confess to you that I look around me and don’t always find a lot to be hope-full about. The political world scares me. The financial and legal system are a shambles. Religions that don’t acknowledge you as the Creator/Sustainer of the world seem to be overtaking us Christ-followers. I ask that you would empower me by your Spirit to remember that my hope is built on Grace through Jesus Christ. May I go about my day doing and saying good things to glorify you, Amen.

 

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